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Latest Featured Reports | Tuesday, May 21, 2024
Sunday 'I Scream Cohen' Toons
THIS WEEK: Unethical Lying Sleazebags ... The Death of Satire ... Trains are Real ... And many more primal screams in our latest collection of the week's best toons...
FEC Repubs Vote to Allow Campaign Donor Anonymity: 'BradCast' 5/16/24
Guest: Public Citizen's Craig Holman; Also: Two (generally) encouraging SCOTUS rulings on CFPB funding and a second Black-majority U.S. House district in Louisiana...
'Green News Report' 5/16/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Canadian wildfires expand; Climate change exacerbated extreme heat in Asia; Broadcast media ignored Trump's billion dollar Big Oil quid pro quo; Plus: Biden v. China on EVs...
Previous GNRs: 5/14/24 - 5/9/24 - Archives...
Trump Trial Ketchup: Cohen, 'Smoking Gun', 'Cult of Trump': 'BradCast' 5/15/24
Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, attorney Keith Barber of Daily Kos; Also: MD, NE, WV primary results; Biden, Trump agree to early debates...
LAPD Right-Wing Bias in Violent Response to UCLA Protest Was No Surprise
U.S. law enforcement has long sided with the right against peaceful anti-war, environmental, racial and economic injustice protesters...
Could Ohio Repubs REALLY Keep Biden Off the Ballot?!: 'BradCast' 5/14/24
Also: GOP dirty tricks in WA; More GOP voter suppression in GA; Brighter news from WI and on the slow painful death of 'stare decisis'...
'Green News Report' 5/14/24
Canada's fire season erupts; Record-breaking increase in global CO2 levels; PLUS: MI is newest state to sue Big Oil for climate damages...
Recount in Tied House Primary Reveals Probs in CA Law: 'BradCast' 5/13/24
Guest: Dr. John Maa; Also: Bannon denied; Giuliani fired; Menendez trial begins; Cohen takes stand in Trump's NY criminal trial...
Sunday 'Stormy Weather Continues' Toons
THIS WEEK: Cannon Fire ... Catch and Kill ... Parasites ... Protesting Too Much ... and more, in our latest collection of the week's most turbulent toons...
'Green News Report' 5/9/24
Tornadoes across U.S.; FL Repubs ban 'climate change'; House Repubs' latest salvo in 'War on Woke Appliances'; PLUS: US culture shift in portrayal of climate reality...
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

COLORADO FOLLOWS FLORIDA WITH GOP CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


Also: McHenry quits; Tuberville folds; DeSantis Never Back Down staffers back down; GOP officials indicted for 2022 election interference in AZ; GOP official's wife convicted on 52 counts of 2020 election fraud in IA...
By Brad Friedman on 12/5/2023 6:12pm PT  

It's impeachment madness on today's BradCast! Also, a whole bunch of Republicans are otherwise quitting, backing down or facing jail time. In other words, Tuesday. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Among the many stories covered on today's program...

  • Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), a U.S. Senator and grown man who goes by the name Tommy, finally backed down from his pointless, one-man, months-long blockade of promotions for more than 400 U.S. military officials. He had been protesting a Pentagon abortion policy that none of the officers in question had anything to do with. The Senate quickly promoted all of them by simple voice vote shortly thereafter.
  • House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) announces he has "no choice" but to hold a floor vote for a (revenge) Impeachment inquiry of President Biden next week. The announcement follows the latest bombshell disclosure by Oversight Committee Chair and supergenius Rep. James Comer (R-KY) that Republican investigators have discovered secret monthly payments made by China to Joe Biden and laundered through his son, Hunter! Err...Three monthly payments of about a $1,400 each from Hunter Biden to his dad in 2018 to repay him for the purchase of a used truck the then former Vice President helped him buy. (Yes, the same bombshell loan repayment reported almost two years ago by the New York Post.)
  • The bow-tied, far-right, but not-insane-enough-for-today's-House-Republicans Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) has had enough. He joined a growing number of colleagues announcing they will be quitting at the end of this term.
  • An important CORRECTION following my mention yesterday of North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum dropping out of the GOP 2024 Presidential race, and the RNC announces the four candidates who have qualified to appear at Wednesday's night's "Presidential Primary Debate" in Alabama. (Neither Burgum nor Trump will be there. DeSantis, Haley, Ramaswamy and Christie will, for some reason.)
  • The three top officials for Ron DeSantis' "Never Back Down" super PAC have backed down. They quite over the weekend, joining a growing number of other Never Back Downers who have exited the Florida Governor's losing 2024 campaign in recent days.
  • Two Republican Cochise County officials, Peggy Judd and Tom Crosby, have been indicted on state charges in Arizona for conspiracy and interference of an election officer after refusing to certify the county's 2022 election results because...well, tune in.
  • Kim Taylor, the wife of Republican Woodbury County, Iowa Supervisor and failed GOP Congressional candidate has been convicted on 52 counts of election fraud-related charges for falsifying voter registrations and casting dozens of fraudulent votes in the names of others in the 2020 election. Her husband, Jeremy Taylor, named as a co-conspirator, has yet to be indicted for some reason.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report (and our only one this week, due to our coverage of this week's dumb GOP "Presidential Primary Debate") with a bit of surprisingly good news out of the U.N.'s COP28 climate conference this week in Dubai, and more good news on the Biden EPA's new rule that will eliminate all 9 million toxic lead water pipes across the entire nation...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Election technology expert Kevin Skoglund on why ES&S Ballot Marking Devices printed out the OPPOSITE of some voters' votes...
By Brad Friedman on 12/4/2023 6:09pm PT  

After a number of headlines on today's BradCast --- a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke last week --- we're on to our main story today. And it's a doozy.

Last month, during off-year elections in several states, touchscreen voting systems in Northampton County, Pennsylvania made by ES&S, the nation's largest voting system vendor, were discovered to be printing out the opposite of what voters had selected on their screens in two different statewide contests.

The so-called touchscreen Ballot Marking Devices (BMDs) used in Northampton, a suburban swing-county just outside of Philly in the critical battleground state, are supposed to print a ballot summary card, in human-readable language, based on selection made on the touchscreens, allowing voters to confirm their choices before those cards are then tabulated by an optical-scan computer. Similar systems are (shamefully) still used by about a fifth of the nation's voters on Election Day across the county, including in every precinct in the critical battleground state of Georgia and here in the nation's most populace County in Los Angeles.

But last month, on November 7th, there were two statewide retention elections for Judges, one Democratic and one Republican. If voters selected either YES or NO for both judges, everything printed out on the ballot cards as expected. But if they selected YES in one race and NO for the other, the system would flip their votes on the summary print-out. But here's the catch. It only flipped the votes on the human-readable portion of the ballot. The barcodes also printed on the ballot summary --- which humans cannot read --- as used for tabulation, recorded the votes correctly as cast.

As you can imagine, all of this resulted in chaos on Election Day. Some voters --- once precincts even noticed the problem --- began voting on hand-marked Emergency Paper Ballots instead. In PA, however, there are only about 20 such emergency ballots available at each precinct. They ran out very quickly.

After explanations by election officials and employees at ES&S (which did the programming of the computers for the election) on Election Day, a County judge ordered voters to begin using the touchscreen systems again. Some officials tried to ease voters worries by telling them they would just FLIP the votes after polls closed! In other precincts, voters were reportedly instructed to simply vote the opposite of what they actually wanted in those two contests.

This is the same County where, back in 2019, the first time these ES&S ExpressVoteXL systems were first deployed, the systems recorded zero votes for some races in certain precincts. One of those races, believe it or not, was for the County Judge who, this year, gave the okay to start using the misprogrammed systems again. He didn't receive zero votes in those precincts in 2019. In fact, he won the race for County Judge, as a post-election investigation would reveal.

So, what actually happened on November 7th last month? Longtime election technologist KEVIN SKOGLUND of Pennsylvania's nonpartisan Citizens for Better Elections, investigated to find out. He recently published a detailed report breaking down exactly what wrong. He was able to confirm that while the printed, human-readable text appeared to flip the votes in those two races, the human-unreadable barcode version of the ballot correctly reflected the intent of voters. In short, the votes were right, but the labels next to the two contests in question had been reversed.

As he explains on today's program, this is a programming error that, frankly, should never have been able to happen. Election Officials have long told skeptics of unverifiable touchscreen BMD systems that there was nothing to worry about, because the systems printed out a paper record of voters votes that they could approve before casting, and that the computer-printed barcodes or QRCodes would always match that human-readable text. In Northampton County last month, clearly they did not.

Skoglund also discusses the terrifying danger posed by a programming error like this --- whether it actually happens or voters simply claim that it did --- to next year's Presidential election in states like Pennsylvania, Georgia and elsewhere where voters at the polls are forced to use the same or similar touchscreen systems to cast their ballots.

Describing BMDs like those used in Northampton as "a $9,000 pencil," Skoglund warns today that "events like this shake people's trust, with good reason."

"One of the core cybersecurity concerns is resilience," he tells me. "You want to have systems that can recover from problems. One of the reasons that we like hand-marked paper ballots is not just that the voter marks their ballot and verifies it all at the same time --- so there's not this extra step of checking if the machines works --- one of the other properties of them is their resilience. Because even if the power goes out, even if the machines all stop working, as long as you have a pen, you can mark the ovals on your ballot. But with these [BMD] machines, your 'pen' may just stop working. And you have to have a backup plan if that happens."

Clearly in Northampton, PA last month, there was no real backup plan. If something like this happens next year --- either real or manufactured by nefarious voters --- in even one precinct in PA or any of the other swing-states where similar systems are insanely still used by millions of voters, I shudder to think of what may happen next in this nation.

Incredibly enough, even after the failures in 2019 and 2023, Northampton plans to use the same systems again next year. We discuss that and much more related to all of this on today's show, before we receive phone calls near the end of the program from a few other election experts --- Susan Greenhalgh of FreeSpeechForPeople.org and Dr. Philip Stark, UC-Berkeley election expert and inventor of the post-election Risk Limiting Audit (RLA) protocol. Both have long warned of exactly this kind of election nightmare and have long urged all election officials to move to reliable, verifiable, hand-marked paper ballots for all voters, other than for disabled voters who may choose to vote with an assistive technology.

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Lawfare's Anna Bower on inexplicable omissions in the Georgia state agency's long-awaited, nearly 400-page criminal investigation...
By Brad Friedman on 11/29/2023 5:46pm PT  

This is just getting ridiculous. As detailed on today's BradCast, the long-awaited, criminal report from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) on Team Trump's unlawful January 7, 2021 breach, copying and distribution of Georgia's statewide voting system software in rural Coffee County, appears to leave out more than it includes! [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

Our guest today is ANNA BOWER, Legal Fellow and Courts Correspondent at Lawfare. She recently obtained the report [PDF] and yesterday published extensive coverage under the headline, "What the GBI Missed in Coffee County: At almost 400 pages, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation report on the Coffee County caper looks impressive. It's not."

"One could be forgiven for thinking initially that the GBI's report on Coffee County is an authoritative account. It is, after all, nearly 400 pages long, and those pages summarize a voluminous body of evidence. ... But the document turns out to reflect a less vigorous investigation of the effort to unlawfully access the state's voting machines than may initially appear," Bowers reports.

In fact, she continues, "The document suggests, rather, that the GBI did not investigate the Coffee County affair fully at all. The agency relied almost entirely on the previous work of civil litigants [that would be frequent BradCast guest Marilyn Marks and her Coalition for Good Governance] and the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol. It failed to seek interviews with key witnesses, and it omitted relevant evidence that is readily available in public documents."

And yet, GA's Republican Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger has been citing the GBI's long-running investigation as one of the reasons that his office has taken virtually no action over the past two and a half years in response to the unprecedented breach which threatens the legitimacy of next year's Presidential election in the critical battleground state. He has even ignored the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency's warning to immediately apply security patches created by Dominion Voting Systems following the breach.

While Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has brought criminal charges [PDF] against five of Donald Trump's alleged co-conspirators involved in the scheme --- including Trump attorney Sidney Powell, Atlanta bail bondsman Scott Hall (both of whom have pleaded guilty), former Coffee County GOP Chair and fake elector Cathy Latham and former Coffee County Election Supervisor Misty Hampton (both of whom pleaded not guilty) --- there were dozens more involved in the plot that have yet to be brought to account by anyone.

Moreover, according to Bower, GA's Republican state Attorney General Chris Carr, who has also cited the GBI's criminal probe as explanation for a lack of state charges to date, has "been ill served" by his investigative department. Maybe, however, like Raffensperger and the State Board of Elections, he's just fine with that.

While there is almost zero new information of note in the GBI's long-awaited report, as Bower details on today's program, the state agency inexplicably leaves out enormous, well known chunks of the story --- such as the infamous Trump Oval Office meeting on December 18, 2020 when the Coffee County plot was hatched with Powell, Rudy Giuliani, Michael Flynn and others who were not interviewed in the agency's criminal probe. "In total," Bower explains, the GBI "interviewed only about 15 individuals" in their year and a half probe, "Many, if not most, of those interviews were conducted in under an hour."

"This account does not even attempt to answer certain key questions. Who devised the plan to access voting systems in Coffee County? When did the plan first arise? Who or what connected the then-president's attorneys to several locals in rural South Georgia? The report bizarrely omits readily available facts that help connect these dots."

On today's show, we attempt to connect at least some of the dots that the GBI didn't bother to, including those involving bedding impresario Mike Lindell and his still-unexplained, two-hour visit to the County in his private plane after flying from Mar-a-Lago to D.C. and back down to rural Southeast Georgia just prior to the breach; why the GBI would be seemingly be working so hard to cover up what actually happened; and why all of this is critically important to the state's (and nation's!) 2024 elections.

"For Georgians who care about elections, for Georgians who think that it's very serious that the then-President's legal team, aided by local allies in Coffee County, had a plot, a conspiracy, to copy and distribute Georgia's most sensitive voting system data, that is incredibly serious, and it warrants a serious investigation. And that just didn't happen here," Bower tells me.

"Georgia continues to use the same software and the Sec. of State's office has said there will not be an update before the 2024 elections. Election security experts have said that means that we could have increased risk in terms of vulnerability during the 2024 election. That software data that has been distributed and is still out in the wild from Coffee County [and] could be used for disinformation campaigns, because people can take the otherwise legitimate data, and make it look either edited or selectively presented. Adversaries could basically use that software to test it for vulnerabilities, and then potentially use that in the future for subverting the operation of that software through malware or other" means.

Federally, she observes, she has seen few signs that Special Counsel Jack Smith is investigating "these multi-state breaches. That, in itself, is concerning"...

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Guest: ACLU voting rights attorney Jonathan Topaz; Also: Israel-Hamas truce extended for two more days amid more hostage releases...
By Brad Friedman on 11/27/2023 6:05pm PT  

We're back live on today's BradCast after a much-needed holiday break. Thanks to those of you who helped us avoid disaster last week! Now the question is whether we'll be able to avoid disaster in next year's Presidential election where we will have "as stark a choice as the United States has ever faced."

A lot happened while we were off (as usual), but none as critical, as far as I'm concerned, as the mind-blowing ruling issued last week by a three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal, upholding an insane lower U.S. District Court Judge's ruling in an Arkansas voting rights case.

The lawsuit, filed by the NAACP, challenges Arkansas' gerrymandered legislative maps which should --- if the rule of law and Constitution mean anything anymore --- include another five Black-majority voting districts before the 2024 elections.

However, last year, a Trump-appointed District Court Judge, while recognizing the merits of the case, found for the first time in U.S. history that individual voters and private organizations like the NAACP and ACLU have no "right to private action" to sue against violations of Section 2 of the landmark Voting Rights Act. The lower court judge found that only the U.S. Attorney General may sue to block racially discriminatory laws under Section 2. And, last week, incredibly enough, that ruling was upheld by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals panel featuring two Trump judges and one George W. Bush appointed judge.

We're joined today by JONATHAN TOPAZ, Staff Attorney at the ACLU's Voting Rights Project, who worked on the case at both the district and appellate court level. He explains that the District Court ruling "was the first court in the history of the United States to determine that Section 2 lacked a private right of action, which means that private plaintiffs are unable to vindicate their rights under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. This, at the time, and is today, is an incredibly radical ruling. We appealed, because it had no basis in the text and structure of the Voting Rights Act, it had no basis in the precedent, and it certainly had no basis in the practice of decades and decades of private plaintiffs bringing suits to vindicate the incredibly important right to vote free of racial discrimination under the Voting Rights Act."

But, as Topaz goes on to explain, it got worse. Last week "a divided panel of the 8th Circuit voted to affirm the District Court's finding. So now these are the only two courts in the history of the United States that have ever made such a finding."

Indeed, the arguably even more "conservative" 5th Circuit Court of Appeal, recently found the opposite, that private plaintiffs do have the right to sue. So, the 8th Circuit Court is an outlier, with what Topaz describes as "a radical opinion on appeal to the voters of Arkansas and voters around the country."

What happens next? What will it mean if it is upheld by SCOTUS? What are the chances of that actually happening? How can it be that neither SCOTUS nor Congress nor dozens and dozens of courts have previously noticed this flaw in the VRA over the past six decades? And, if SCOTUS does find in favor of the 8th Circuit, what will that mean for the hundreds of Section 2 cases previously decided in favor of private plaintiffs? Tune in for answers to all of those questions and many more.

Also today, a bit of what suffices for "good news" out of the Middle East on Monday, as Israel and Hamas agreed to extend their four-day pause in hostilities for another two days to allow for the release of more hostages from Gaza and more Palestinian prisoners from Israeli prisons.

That largely encouraging news, however, is somewhat tempered by events back here in the U.S. over the weekend, where three Palestinian students were shot at close range in otherwise peaceful Burlington, Vermont. The three young men, all 20 years old, were heading to dinner at one of the men's grandmother's house. A suspect was arrested on Sunday. We discuss.

Then, we open things up to listeners via phone and email in our closing few minutes...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Marilyn Marks of plaintiff Coalition for Good Governance; Also in GA: Who leaked the Fulton County tapes?; Jail time for a Trump co-defendant?; Defamed Atlanta election workers seek millions from Rudy...
By Brad Friedman on 11/16/2023 6:57pm PT  

You may have noticed the nation is a bit of a tinder box right now. If the currently presumptive 2024 GOP nominee loses in Georgia again next year and just one precinct, out of thousands in the state, experiences something akin to what happened last week during elections in Northampton County, Pennsylvania... well, I don't even wanna think about the likely ramifications. Though we do discuss that today as part of our BradCast, which focuses almost exclusively on election-related lawsuits and criminal cases in the Peach State. Our guest is one of the plaintiffs in one of the most important cases you probably haven't heard about on your favorite cable news station. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

The long-awaited Curling v. Raffensperger voting system trial is finally set to begin in Atlanta in January, just after the start of the new Presidential election year in the critical battleground state Originally filed in 2017, the long-running federal lawsuit has already been extraordinarily consequential.

Among other things, it resulted in the 2019 banning of Georgia's then nearly 20-year old, unverifiable, insecure touchscreen voting systems made by Diebold after the judge still overseeing the case, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Totenberg, found the systems so deficient that their use was determined to be in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

In response, and ignoring the advice of voting system and cybersecurity experts, GA's Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger replaced the Diebold systems with newer, similarly unverifiable and insecure touchscreen voting systems made by Dominion. The plaintiffs challenged the use of those systems on similar Constitutional grounds, hoping to see the state move to verifiable hand-marked paper ballots at all polling places, where voters are now forced to vote on the unverifiable touchscreen systems. Raffensperger has refused.

As AP noted last weekend, the case also "spawned a landmark expert report that identified vulnerabilities in the election system used in Georgia that led [the US Dept. of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (or CISA)] to issue an advisory" to all jurisdictions around the nation that use the same equipment, recommending they immediately apply security patches produced by Dominion to mitigate at least some of the systems' known insecurities. Raffensperger stunned the federal court in Atlanta earlier this year when his office announced they do not plan to apply the recommended security patches until after the 2024 Presidential election in the highly contested swing-state.

Perhaps most famously (or infamously?) the Curling case also resulted in the revelation of the January 7, 2021 statewide voting system software breach in Coffee County, GA. That led to the criminal indictment of Sidney Powell and four others, with Donald Trump, in Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis' sprawling racketeering conspiracy case against the former President and 18 alleged co-conspirators. The revelation of the unprecedented Coffee County breach, copying and Internet distribution of Dominion's sensitive software occurred when Atlanta bail bondsman, Scott Hall (who, along with Powell, has since pleaded guilty in the indictment), called and essentially confessed the entire plot to one of the plaintiffs in the 'Curling' case, who was smart enough to record the phone call. That call was originally aired by The BradCast in May of 2022.

That plaintiff, MARILYN MARKS, longtime, indefatigable election integrity champion and Executive Director of the non-profit good government group, Coalition for Good Governance, is once again our guest on today's program, as she and her team prepare for trial against Raffensperger and GA, now set by Judge Totenberg to begin on January 9th.

Late last week, Totenberg released a 135-page Opinion and Order [PDF], denying the State's attempt to dismiss the case and setting a trial date. For clarity, she took pains to note: "the record evidence does not suggest that the Plaintiffs are conspiracy theorists of any variety. Indeed, some of the nation's leading cybersecurity experts and computer scientists have provided testimony and affidavits on behalf of Plaintiffs' case in the long course of this litigation."

In the Order's conclusion, the federal judge emphasized: "The importance of the security, reliability, and functionality of state election systems, classified by the U.S. Homeland Security Department as critical national infrastructure, cannot be overstated in a world where cybersecurity challenges have exponentially increased in the last decade. The dynamics of how a breach in one part of a cyber system may potentially carry cybersecurity reverberations for the entire system for years to come exemplifies the important concerns raised in this case."

But, Totenberg also writes in her ruling that she is unable to order the use of a new voting system for the State, asserting that only the Legislature may do that. Thus, she urges the parties to find a compromise resolution. Nonetheless, as Marks explains today, this same judge, who will oversee a bench trial without a jury, found the old Diebold systems so dangerously deficient nearly five years ago, that she not only found them unconstitutional, she barred their use in any further Georgia elections.

"We've never asked for her to order hand-marked paper ballots," Marks clarifies today. "That ultimately just becomes the default, because state law already says that if the electronic system is not working, hand-marked paper ballots is what you go to. That's what the law says." She notes that Judge Totenberg "has the power to enjoin unconstitutional behavior, and that's what we are asking her to do."

"No amount of software patching is going to fix this Constitutional problem. No amount of so-called auditing. You can't do a real audit with those machine-printed ballots," argues Marks. After an election, only hand-marked paper ballots can be known to have been verified by the voter. Studies have found that voters didn't notice more than 93% of the time when a touchscreen voting system flipped their vote on a computer-printed paper ballot summary.

Last week, in Northampton, PA's elections, similar touchscreen Ballot Marking Devices to those used all across GA were showing voter selections one way on the screen in two different contests, in some cases, but printing the opposite on the paper that gets tallied. Imagine if that occurred in even one precinct next year in GA with Trump on the ballot. That is among the nightmare scenarios Marks is hoping to side-step by forcing the state to finally dump their insane --- and insanely expensive --- statewide system.

She says the solution is simple and inexpensive and can be done immediately. Emergency hand-markable paper ballots are already required at every precinct in the state. Just print more of them, and use the existing scanners in each polling location to tally them. "70% of Americans vote this way. This is not hard," Marks asserts. "Of course, the State pretends that it would take rocket science to make this happen."

There is, to say the least, much at stake in this upcoming trial, even as it is not receiving nearly the amount of attention of the other election-related case underway in GA right now, the Fulton County criminal case against Trump and his co-defendants. On that, we have some news as well on today's program, including...

  • An attorney for defendant Misty Hampton, the former Coffee County Elections Director, claims he is the one who leaked video proffers of Powell, Hall, and Trump attorneys Ken Chesebro and Jenna Ellis to the media. But is he really?
  • Willis is seeking the jailing of co-defendant Harrison Floyd for attempted witness intimidation. He is among those indicted in the conspiracy for threatening Atlanta election workers Ruby Freeman and her daughter Shaye Moss over false claims that they carried out ballot fraud in 2020.
  • And Freeman and Moss are now seeking between $15 and $43 million from former NYC Mayor and Fulton County co-defendant Rudy Giuliani in their civil defamation trial against him in federal court. The Judge in that case has already found Giuliani liable. The D.C. trial set to begin in December against him will now determine how much he'll have to pay to the two women.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our last Green News Report before our Thanksgiving break! We will be off --- from both The BradCast and GNR next week. So we send our best and thanks to everyone! We will return after the holiday...

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Public interest would be served if Sec. of State Raffensperger agreed to move to hand-marked paper ballots before 2024's Presidential elections...
By Marilyn Marks on 11/13/2023 10:15am PT  

(Additional reporting by Brad Friedman.)

All parties to the litigation received U.S. District Court Judge Amy Totenberg's 135-page order [PDF] on Friday, in response to Georgia's Motion for Summary Judgement in the Coalition for Good Governance (CGG)'s years-long Constitutional challenge to the state's insecure, unverifiable touchscreen voting systems.

CGG will be going to trial as she denied the State's motion to dismiss our core claims regarding the critical battleground state's Ballot Marking Device (BMD) touchscreens. Trial is set to begin on January 9.

The Court described the inherent security flaws in Georgia's touchscreen voting system as well as the State's lack of response to the statewide system breaches emanating from the Coffee County breach activities we unearthed last year. That matter has now become infamous through Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis' racketeering indictment against Donald Trump and 18 co-defendants, four of whom she charged for their involvement in the unprecedented copying and distribution of the state's voting system software after breaching the machines at the elections office in the rural, southeastern Georgia county. Two of the alleged co-conspirators specifically involved in the Coffee County plot, Trump attorney Sidney Powell and Atlanta bail bondsman Scott Hall, have pleaded guilty in the matter.

The Court noted the misleading and conflicting claims by the defendant in our case, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, regarding the Coffee breaches (see p. 66 of the ruling) and his delayed and ineffective response. The Order notes how the breaches have grave implications for the security of future elections. Nonetheless, the Secretary and State Election Board have continued to bury their heads in the sand, not wanting to second guess the Secretary's 2019 purchase of the highly flawed system that experts have concluded is less secure than the old paperless Diebold touchscreen system Judge Totenberg ordered to be replaced in 2019....

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Results from OH, KY, MS, PA, VA, elsewhere; Guest: 'Handbook for a Post-Roe America' author Robin Marty of the West Alabama Women's Center...
By Brad Friedman on 11/8/2023 5:52pm PT  

It was a very good night for democracy and reproductive freedom in these United States on Tuesday, as Democrats, in almost every state holding off-year elections yesterday, continued their post-2016, Trump-era winning streak at the polls. We cover both the reported results from Tuesday and what they mean moving forward on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

  • First, the results, including major wins for abortion rights and the legalization of marijuana in the "red" state of Ohio, where Donald Trump won by 8 points in the 2020 election, and where the GOP pulled out all the stops to block the right to reproductive freedoms from being written into the Buckeye State constitution. Unverified results today show both ballot measure were adopted by voters on Tuesday by nearly 14 point margins.
  • In Virginia, Dems held onto their majority in the state Senate and won back a majority in the House of Delegates. Thus, crushing the hopes --- and, perhaps political future --- of Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin while also blocking his hopes of instituting restrictions on abortion in the southern state.
  • There was also a blue moon over the "deep red" state of Kentucky on Tuesday, where Trump won in 2020 by 26 points, and where the state's Democratic Governor Andy Beshear out-performed polling to defeat KY's Trump-endorsed A.G. to win a second term. Beshear vowed during the campaign to continue his fight against the state's total ban on abortion and he won on Tuesday by about five points. Statewide Democrats on the ballot below him, who did not run on abortion rights, all lost. Nonetheless, Beshear's victory may be a good omen for Democrats for another reason. The winning party in KY's off-year Gubernatorial elections has gone on to win the White House in every election this century. That's the past six in a row.
  • The news was not as good for Dems in Mississippi, where long-shot challenger Brendan Presley actually under-performed polling in his challenge to the incumbent, scandal-plagued Republican Governor Tate Reeves. Presley and Reeves both opposed abortion rights. (Paying attention, Democrats?) Of course, the disastrously run election in the state's 83% Black capital city of Jackson --- ballots ran out in many locations, lines were hours long, the state's online polling locator had incorrect instructions for more than 90 polling places --- didn't help.
  • But, in Pennsylvania, voters elected a new, pro-abortion Justice to their Supreme Court, and Philadelphia elected its first female Mayor (who also happens to be black).
  • Voters in Rhode Island, in the only U.S. House Special Election of the night, elected Gabe Amo as their first elected Black Representative for Congress, as Dems continue their streak of out-performing in Special Elections.
  • And voters up in Harlem elected Yusef Salaam, a member of the exonerated "Central Park Five", to the New York City Council. Salaam had been one of five young Black and Hispanic boys arrested and forced to confess to the brutal 1989 rape and beating of a white jogger in Central Park. He was jailed at age 15 and imprisoned for almost seven years before DNA evidence exonerated all five of the young men. A then little known real estate developer named Donald Trump took out full page newspaper ads at the time, calling for the reinstatement of New York's death penalty in hopes of killing the boys. He has never retracted or apologized for his demands. He still insists the innocent boys should be executed, as he remains the Republican Party's front-runner for next year's Presidential election.

But the biggest story of the night were the huge wins for abortion rights pretty much everywhere, and the Democrats who support them. We're joined today to discuss what all of it means moving forward into 2024 by ROBIN MARTY, author of 2019's prescient New Handbook for a Post-Roe America and The End of Roe v. Wade: Inside the Right’s Plan to Destroy Legal Abortion.

Marty is also the Executive Director of the West Alabama Women's Center. She offers a lot of insight --- sometimes harrowing, sometimes witty --- into the political fight for reproductive freedoms in both the Deep South and the nation as a whole, as efforts are now reportedly moving forward to place abortion right on the ballot --- both for and against them --- in about a dozen states.

She's got a lot to share today, including her call for Democrats to run on a federal referendum to restore abortion rights nationwide. For today, however, she is enjoying yesterday's wins across the country.

"The most important thing to take away is the fact that voters are still pissed," she tells me. "This is exactly their way of showing just how angry they are. It is going to take all of us, as voters who believe in reproductive rights, to go out, vote and change government on every level. And that's what people did yesterday. They changed it in governors races, flipped statehouses, changed abortion language on the ballot. They went and took out school boards that had gone totally MAGA and had started trying to take away the ability for kids to be able to read age-appropriate sex ed books. So we, literally, are going at every level of the government, and that is going to change things back."

As to her sharp response to the every-few-months retreaded claims from political pundits that the fight for abortion rights may be losing its potency since Roe v. Wade was overturned by our corrupted Supreme Court last year, well...you'll want to tune in for Marty's sharp reply to that question...and much more...

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Huge ES&S touchscreen fail in PA county; Missing VBM ballots at OSU; Also: WI GOP advances impeachment against state Election Director; Meadows sued by own book publisher for lying about 2020 election...
By Brad Friedman on 11/7/2023 5:55pm PT  

Today was Election Day in a bunch of states across the U.S. Important contests and ballot measures were before voters in this off-year election, including in Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Mississippi, parts of California and elsewhere. And, as covered on today's BradCast, things did not go well for voters in parts of at least two of those states on Tuesday. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

  • As we reported at The BRAD BLOG earlier today in some detail, new, unverifiable touchscreen voting machines made by ES&S were reportedly flipping votes in Northampton County, Pennsylvania. This wasn't the type of "flipping" that we've seen many times in the past, where the screens on the voting system are not calibrated correctly and when one tries to select a candidate, a different one gets highlighted instead. This was quite different.

    At a number of precincts across Northampton, a largely suburban enclave outside of Philly, when voters selected either "Yes" or "No" in a statewide retention election for each of two judges (one D and one R), everything presumably worked as expected. But if voters chose "Yes" for one of the judges and "No" for the other, their votes would get reversed to the opposite selections. Making matters worse, the computer printout of those votes would be reversed, while the screen itself would show the voters' actual selections.

    Back in 2019, as we reported at the time, just after the ES&S ExpressVote XL systems --- wildly expensive computerized electronic pencils --- were first purchased for use in Northampton, there were a number of candidates who learned after the election they had received ZERO votes on them. That, of course, was not true, and the paper printouts from the systems were eventually used to discern what were believed to be the correct results of the elections. But, of course, there is no way of knowing if the printed paper records were actually accurate, whether voters bothered to verify them, or if they did so correctly even if they tried to. That's just a few of the problems with every touchscreen Ballot Marking Device (BMD) used across the country. (For example, every voter at every polling place in the entire state of Georgia is still forced to use similarly unverifiable BMD systems made by Dominion Voting Systems.)

    Shamefully, after the 2019 disaster, PA's Northampton County didn't dump the machines then and there and move to verifiable hand-marked paper ballots instead. Today, those same systems melted down for voters again. And, perhaps even more shamefully, the County officials who approved them for use in the first place were blaming everybody but themselves for it, including election officials and ES&S. Perhaps most shameful of all, one of the candidates who, in 2019, was reported to have received "zero" votes in his election at the time for Northampton County Judge, but later found that he had actually won the election, presided over what to do about today's mess. After the problems came to light, he was the Northampton County Judge who, rather than ordering a move to hand-marked provisional paper ballots, instructed election officials to continue using the machines despite the fact that they were reversing votes.

    One local outlet reporting on the mess described today's "solution" to the problem this way: "In cases where the error would pop up for the retention question, the county would flip the results during the post-election canvass." (!!!)

    As noted, this is just a mess. Much more on all of this on today's show. And, I suspect, we'll be covering it more in the days ahead. Let's hope there are no close elections either statewide or in Northampton when PA results are tabulated tonight.

  • Also today, it is being reported that, according to several nonpartisan voting rights groups, "an extraordinarily high number" of voters in the zip code of Ohio State University never received their requested absentee ballots by mail. The state held a critical election for a Constitutional measure today to protect abortion rights, as Republicans in the state, including its Sec. of State Frank LaRose, have pulled out all the stops to block the Amendment from passage (including recently purging 26,000 voters quietly from the rolls after the election had already begun.) There is also a proposal to approve recreational marijuana on Tuesday's ballot. Once again, the results, whatever they may be, better not be close, or there will be some hell to pay in the Buckeye State, I suspect.
  • In Wisconsin, Republicans appear to be working hard to ensure chaos for next year's critical Presidential election in the Badger State. State Assembly speaker Robin Vos, last week, advanced 15 articles of impeachment against the state's top election official, as part of their years long effort to blame someone --- anyone! --- for Donald Trump's 2020 loss in the battleground state.
  • And, speaking of 2020, Mark Meadows, Trump's former Chief of Staff and current co-defendant in the conspiracy case against them and 17 others for attempting to steal the Presidential election in Georgia, is being sued by his own book publisher. The publisher, All Seasons Press, claims that Meadows' reported cooperation in Special Counsel Jack Smith's federal indictment against Trump for his attempt to steal the 2020 election, contradicts Meadows claims in his book that the election was "rigged" and "stolen". ASP is now suing Meadows for millions. And it's hilarious.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as Australia braces for another record bushfire season amid an El Nino; October 2023 is officially declared the hottest October ever recorded on the planet; Michigan enacts sweeping climate and environmental legislation; and President Biden unveils the nation's largest investment in rail travel in 50 years...

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In 2019, same machines recorded ZERO votes for some candidates
NOW UPDATED WITH MORE DETAILS...
By Brad Friedman on 11/7/2023 11:46am PT  

Unfortunately, this "programming error" being reported during today's off-year elections in Pennsylvania is hardly the first time that these terrible touchscreen voting systems made by ES&S and shamefully still used in Northampton County --- just outside of Philly --- have failed during a critical election day.

As reported this morning by the Lehigh Valley News...

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - A flaw in Northampton County's voting machines forced multiple polling places to turn to provisional ballots Tuesday morning.

A programming error with the county's ES&S ExpressVote XL machines is causing votes to flip when voters split their votes on [statewide] retention questions for Superior Court judges Jack Panella and Victor P. Stabile. Panella, of Palmer Township, is a Democrat while Stabile is a former chair of the Cumberland County Republican Committee.

If a voter cast a "Yes" vote for one of the incumbents, but a "No" vote for the other, the votes come out flipped, Northampton County Executive Lamont McClure said.

McClure characterized the error as relatively minor and stressed all votes will be counted. But he expressed his frustration that the mistake wasn't caught during pre-election testing.

"I'm livid at the election folks and ES&S," McClure said.

This is only "relatively minor" for those who continue to support using unverifiable, computerized touchscreen voting systems rather than simple, verifiable, hand-marked paper ballots, which appear to have saved the day here (hopefully), in any case...

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Reproductive freedoms and vote purges in VA, OH; Upset Gubernatorial races on deck in KY, MS?; Election denialism threatens vote counting in northern CA county; Also: Listener calls and other news of the day...
By Brad Friedman on 11/6/2023 6:26pm PT  

Tomorrow is a so-called "off-year" election in a number of states. But several of those elections may tell us quite a bit about the 2024 elections, and not necessarily in the way you may think, as reported on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among today's stories...

  • First up, some quickish news updates. Donald Trump took the stand on Monday in court in Manhattan for three and a half hours of contentious testimony in his losing battle to save his fraudulent company and his children's inheritance in New York State's $250 million fraud lawsuit against them for falsely inflating Trump Organization assets to the tune of $2.2 billion dollars each year from 2011 through 2021. He's already lost the case. Now the question is how much it will cost him (and his children.)
  • Next, a few quick updates on Israel's relentless war against the people of Gaza following the Hamas attack against Israel on October 7, which killed at least 1,300. Now, more than 10,000 have reportedly been killed in response in Gaza, including more than 4,000 children. Calls for a ceasefire are getting louder in the U.S. and around the world. The Biden Administration's calls and Sec. of State Antony Blinken's shuttle diplomacy in the region for a "humanitarian pause" to speed additional humanitarian aid into Gaza and allow the release of some 240 hostages, have yet to gain much traction from Israel's hard-right government.
  • Then, it's on to Tuesday's elections, first with a focus on two Gubernatorial contests in the Deep South, with one popular incumbent Democrat (Kentucky's Andy Beshear) seeking a second term, and another Democrat (Mississippi's Brandon Presley) vying for a long-shot victory now that his state, where 40% of the population is black, has finally done away with a Jim Crow law that has dampened African-American turnout for generations.
  • We discussed the critical fight for control of the Virginia Senate and House of Delegates last week with former VA Delegate Mark Levine. But it was worth revisiting today for a reminder of how much is stake in the Commonwealth on Tuesday, including the right to abortion, which its Republican Governor, Glenn Youngkin, is vowing to restrict if he can hold the House and flip just two seats in the Senate on Tuesday. Every seat in the General Assembly is up for grabs this year, in what is likely to be seen as a bellwether ahead of the 2024 Presidential contest.

    But the biggest battle of the day is likely to be Ohio's Constitutional amendment to protect reproductive freedoms. Republicans are pulling out all the stops to lie, cheat and, yes, even steal it if they must, to block the popular ballot initiative in hopes of instituting a six-week ban on abortions in the Buckeye State with no exceptions for rape or incest. To that end, Republican Sec. of State and U.S. Senate nominee-wannabe Frank LaRose recently purged some 26,000 voters from the rolls. He did so after overseas and military voting had already begun (which would have been unlawful during a federal election) and without giving a heads up to voting rights groups as he has in the past. Those nonpartisan groups have frequently discovered and prevented thousands of errors in such purges. Last week's shocker, as discussed on Thursday's show, wherein I learned from an obituary on the Internet that I had died (even though, I assure you, I haven't) is a reminder of how easy it can be to wrongly remove "dead" voters from the roles who are, in fact, quite alive. At least when you do it as LaRose has done. But, of course, that's why he did it.

    And, in what may be a bit of a sleeper "bellwether" for next year's elections, one county in Northern California may be bracing for potential political violence, as rightwingers in Shasta County are insisting on hand-counting ballots after prematurely ending their contract with Dominion Voting Systems. But the elected registrar --- the only county-wide elected Dem in the County --- believes it wise to follow state law and tally with new Hart-Intercivic tabulators instead. Tune in for details. And keep your eyes on Shasta over the next few days, as we will.

  • Then we close by taking a few calls from listeners on some of the above today. Buckle up! Not as much for today's show or our callers, but for tomorrow's otherwise low-key, but critical elections around the country...

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Nothing but tough breaks for Trump in GA, NY, D.C. and CO courtrooms; Also: House GOP selects new Speaker nominee...he quits hours later...
By Brad Friedman on 10/24/2023 6:20pm PT  

A bad day in court for the former President is a good day for America and democracy. Happily, as reported on today's BradCast, it was a very bad day for the former President. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Rudy Giuliani's attempted election theft sidekick, rightwing media darling, accomplished liar and opportunistically Christian Trump attorney Jenna Ellis offered a teary apology-ish in an Atlanta courtroom today, as she threw Rudy under the bus and pretended to be contrite for helping him and Donald Trump try to steal the 2020 election in Georgia.

Ellis was allowed to plead guilty to a single felony charge (she was originally charged with two) in Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis' sprawling racketeering conspiracy indictment [PDF] against Trump and 18 co-defendants. She will receive no jailtime if she follows the terms of her plea deal and cooperates with prosecutors against her fellow co-defendants, which include Trump, Giuliani, Mark Meadows, John Eastman and others.

The manipulative Ms. Ellis (pictured above either crying or smiling following her remarks to the judge on Tuesday) boasted just last month about raising more than $200,000 for her legal defense in the case, which she characterized as "the criminalization of the practice of law" by a "weaponized government."

On Tuesday, however, she suddenly decided to claim "deep remorse" and that she should have made sure "that the facts the other lawyers alleged to be true were in fact true." She told the judge through her tears: "I believe in and I value election integrity. If I knew then what I know now, I would have declined to represent Donald Trump in these post-election challenges."

And you shouldn't believe her for a second, as discussed today. Ellis is the fourth co-defendant to plead guilty in Willis' case, and the third attorney to do so after Sidney Powell and Ken Chesebro last week. To date, all have avoided any jail time...as we discuss as well.

Elsewhere, on a very Trumpy news day (sorry, not sorry)...

  • Moments before midnight last night, at the deadline for pre-trial motions, Trump filed a flurry of desperate pleadings in the felony indictment case against him by Special Counsel Jack Smith in federal court in D.C. for efforts related to his attempt to steal the 2020 election, including the January 6 insurrection. TPM's David Kurtz has an excellent quick round-up of the filings; former U.S. Attorney Barb McQuade characterizes them as "all losers"; and our friend Marcy Wheeler of Emptywheel offers the shortest, sharpest round-up of the pleadings which appear destined to fail miserably.
  • In a New York state courtroom on Tuesday, where Trump, his company and his two eldest sons face the loss of their fraudulent business empire in Attorney General Letitia James' civil case against him, Trump's former attorney and fixer Michael Cohen testified --- as Trump glowered from the defense table --- that, when he worked for the Trump Organization he was "tasked by Mr. Trump" to inflate the value of company assets to "whatever number Trump told us." The judge in the case has already found Trump et al guilty on the key fraud claims brought by James. Several other issues and the final size of the judgement against the defendants remain at stake. Also, the question of whether Trump and his attorneys will be sickened by COVID again.
  • In Congress, Republicans in the U.S. House spent the last two days selecting their newest Speaker Designate after moving to fire Kevin McCarthy three weeks ago. On Tuesday, after five rounds of voting in a close-door conference meeting, House Republicans selected Majority Whip Tom Emmer (MN). A few hours later, after being attacked by Trump, Emmer --- following in the footsteps of Steve Scalise and Jim Jordan before him over the past two weeks --- dropped out of the running. And we're back to square one with no Speaker and a House that is unable to do any business until the GOP can grow up and govern before next month's deadline for a full government shutdown.
  • And, in one more Trump-related story from Friday. A state judge in Colorado rejected three different attempts by the disgraced former President to dismiss a lawsuit charging that he is ineligible to appear on the state's ballot next year under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, the "Insurrection Disqualification Clause". The filings from both Trump and the Colorado GOP were all but laughed out of court by the judge. The trial in the matter begins in state court next week!
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report. The good news: Trump's name doesn't come up. The bad news: Pretty much everything in our latest Green News Report...

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Guest: Election security expert Susan Greenhalgh, who helped expose the plot; Also: Still no speaker in wholly dysfunctional GOP House...
By Brad Friedman on 10/19/2023 6:36pm PT  

That's two. And this is a big one, as discussed on today's BradCast with someone who helped make it happen. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Former Trump attorney Sidney Powell pleaded guilty in Fulton County, Georgia today. She was the second of 19 co-defendants to do so in District Attorney Fani Willis' sprawling racketeering indictment [PDF] against Donald Trump and his alleged co-conspirators who tried, but failed, to steal the 2020 Presidential election in the Peach State.

Powell is, perhaps, most notorious for her so-called "Kraken" lawsuits filed after 2020, which she promised would expose evidence of massive Democratic fraud in several states. Her suits includes no such evidence and were all quickly dismissed. Her claims, for example, that dead Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was somehow involved in stealing the election with voting machines --- in which Powell bastardized and misused some of my own accurate exclusive reporting on Dominion Voting Systems circa 2010 --- all turned out to be false.

But, as our guest today helped reveal earlier this year, Powell also organized and paid for a scheme to breach proprietary statewide voting system software in Coffee County, unlawfully make copies of it and distribute it across the Internet to sources still unknown. She was indicted by Willis on 7 felony counts related to that plot and, today, pleaded guilty to 6 misdemeanor charges that would keep her out of jail and on probation for 6 years, with the requirement that she cooperate fully with prosecutors and testify truthfully against her 17 remaining co-defendants still facing felony charges. Scott Hall, an Atlanta bail bondsman who initially confessed to the plot in Coffee County during a recorded phone call to frequent BradCast guest Marilyn Marks, as first aired on this program, pleaded guilty earlier this month and is also cooperating with prosecutors as part of his plea deal.

We're joined today for both a bit of a victory lap and a very serious warning by SUSAN GREENHALGH, longtime election integrity expert and Senior Advisor on Election Security at the non-partisan Free Speech for People. With Marks, whose Coalition for Good Governance has a long-running lawsuit against GA Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger, seeking to replace the state's touchscreen voting machines with hand-marked paper ballots, Greenhalgh helped reveal that the plot to breach the voting systems in GA was actually part of a broader, multi-state conspiracy hatched during an infamous December 18, 2020 meeting with Trump in the Oval Office. In addition to Powell, co-defendant Rudy Giuliani, disgraced former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and others on Team MAGA were there that night, hoping that Trump would issue an Executive Order for the military to seize the nation's voting machines. Instead, they settled on the Coffee County scheme and others like it in several other states.

"We know that [Powell's] been involved in voting system software breaches in other states, like in Michigan," Greenhalgh explains today. "But Sidney hasn't been charged there. It's important to keep in mind that this was a networked, coordinated, multi-pronged plan to get access to voting systems in multiple states that she was a part of, and she really shouldn't escape responsibility for her role in those alleged criminal activities in other states."

Greenhalgh recently co-wrote a piece at Slate, calling on the U.S. Justice Department to launch a probe into the multi-state scheme which, she explains today, still poses a very serious threat to the 2024 elections. "Suppose there was a plutonium laboratory that had a robbery, and your local police prosecuted the thieves and the people that let them in. You wouldn't expect them to stop there. You'd expect the feds to go out and find out who got the plutonium and what was the plan to do with it. That's the kind of investigation that we need right now."

For today, at least, the guilty plea by Powell was good news. Marks called it "eminently important...for raising public awareness of the seriousness of the offense that puts Georgia’s 2024 elections at risk because Powell’s team released Georgia’s software into the wild."

As we've discussed with Marks on the program many times, however, Raffensperger has taken no action and has arguably helped cover up the Coffee County breach from the jump. "While Georgia’s Secretary of State has turned a blind eye and declined to either investigate or mitigate this massive security failure," Marks said in a statement today, "at least DA Willis is holding some of the ring leaders accountable in ways that will certainly expose other actors’ wrongdoing in this unlawful attempt to subvert the 2020 election."

For her part, Greenhalgh says today that, though she "was surprised at how lenient the deal is", she is hoping that Powell's guilty plea is "really going to bring the goods" on the multi-state plot and, of course, the involvement of higher-ups in the food chain like Trump and Giuliani.

Greenhalgh encourages listeners to contact their members of Congress to insist they take action on the ongoing threats posed to our voting systems by the breaches in Coffee County and elsewhere before 2024.

Given the mind-blowing and ongoing dysfunction in the GOP-run U.S. House right now, however, amid the Republican Party's continuing inability to choose a Speaker --- as we also discuss on today's show --- it's unlikely that there will be any kind of hearings or anything else there for quite some time.

Finally today, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with bad news for snow crab fans; a decades-long scheme by the natural gas industry to cover-up health concerns about gas stoves; and some potentially encouraging news regarding both solar energy and U.S. climate goals...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Navarro 'guilty'; Prigozhin's interference; DeSantis law v. Idalia recovery; Lee strengthens; OH GOP lawyer sentenced; AL GOP Rep. arrested; 'Crooked' Coffee County, GA; Solution to 'Rich Men from Richmond'...
By Brad Friedman on 9/7/2023 6:39pm PT  

As the headline suggests, we've got a bunch of different odds and ends and follow-ups and codas to share with you on today's BradCast, along with, several new stories and even a musical ending to it all. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among today's stories...

  • Trump advisor Peter Navarro was found guilty by a jury in D.C. on Wednesday on two counts of Contempt of Congress for refusing to answer his House January 6 Committee subpoenas for testimony and documents. It's the second such conviction for a scofflaw Trump apparatchik. Last year, Steve Bannon was found guilty of the same crimes and sentenced to 4 months in prison. He remains out on appeal. Navarro is expected to appeal as well. We wish them both nothing but luck in their continuing efforts to evade the Rule of Law on behalf of the disgraced former President and continuing con-man.
  • Just a friendly reminder, because I haven't seen it covered much in the wake of the recent small plane death of former Vladimir Putin-ally turned short-lived Russian mutineer Yevgeny Prigozhin. I just wanted to make sure this factoid doesn't fall down the Memory Hole of History: On the day before last year's mid-term elections in the U.S., Prigozhin admitted, for the first time publicly, that Russia had, in fact, "interfered, are interfering and will interfere" in U.S. elections. Yes, in addition to heading up the brutal Wagner mercenary group in Ukraine and elsewhere, being known as "Putin's Chef" and eventually failed mutineer, he was also the guy who finally admitted to having interfered in U.S. elections. He was charged by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in 2018, for having done so in 2016.
  • Following Hurricane Idalia's landfall in Northern Florida last week, it's become clear that a radical new anti-immigrant law signed by the state's Republican Governor Ron DeSantis earlier this year will hamper rebuilding and recovery efforts in the Sunshine State. While damage from Idalia was intense, it made landfall on a sparsely populate part of the state. Next time, Florida may not be so "lucky". In not-unrelated news for the U.S. East Coast, the huge Hurricane Lee has now intensified to a Category 4 today as it nears the Caribbean.
  • A couple of weeks ago, we covered yet another case of voter fraud by a White Republican Trump donor after James Saunders, a 56-year old Ohio attorney, was convicted of unlawfully voting in both Florida and the Buckeye State in the 2020 and 2022 general elections. Last week, he received Ohio's maximum sentence of three years in prison. The judge sent him immediately to jail following his conviction without allowing him to remain free pending appeal.
  • In yet another new case of GOP election fraud last week, Alabama state Rep. David Cole was arrested and charged with voting in "multiple or unauthorized locations" after law enforcement officials determined the District 10 lawmaker actually resided in District 4 in violation of state law. He faces up to 10 years in prison for his crimes, though --- in a turnabout for GOPers these days --- Cole who was elected to public office last year, had the decency to resign following his arrest and says he plans to plead guilty.
  • We've been spent quite a bit of time over the past year and a half on both The BradCast and at The BRAD BLOG covering the alarming, unlawful breach, copying and distribution of Georgia's statewide voting system software by a bunch of MAGA folks on January 7th, 2021 in rural Coffee County. The scheme was allegedly organized by Trump attorney Sidney Powell after being hatched in the Oval Office in December of 2020. Powell and three others were finally charged by Atlanta-area D.A. Fani Willis for their parts in the plot, in Donald Trump's sprawling, 41-count RICO indictment [PDF]. We helped break some of the story last year and have been covering in detail it ever since, including yesterday with guest Marilyn Marks, the woman who first revealed the breach after learning about it via a bizarre phone call she received from one of the participants (who has also since been charged.)

    But there is another, less reported aspect to all of this, with no small amount of irony. Two of those charged for key roles in the plot, the County's then GOP Chair Cathy Latham and then Election Supervisor Misty Hampton, were also part of a voter suppression cabal in the heavily Republican County where about a quarter of the population is Black. In fact, for years, the pair had helped to bring false voter fraud charges against County Commissioner Olivia Coley Pearson, a Black Democrat, for her terrible habit of helping folks get to the polls when they need assistance. As CNN's Elle Reeve details in an excellent report this week from on the ground in Coffee County, there is good reason that some refer to it as "Crooked Coffee"...even before the massive Republican election fraud breach carried out by Hampton, Latham and many others.

  • Next up, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report following a record brutal summer across the globe. But she also has some good news, such as the Biden Administration's effort to reverse Trump's oil drilling up in the previously pristine Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).
  • Finally, we close out Labor Day week with a new tune from musician and longtime labor advocate Billy Bragg, who says he was inspired by "the ghost of Woody Guthrie" to respond to a song named Rich Men North of Richmond by Virginia-based singer Oliver Anthony after it recently went viral in GOP circles. Bragg's new tune in response is called Rich Men Earning North of a Million and it has a very clear message and solution for Anthony "and people like you."

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Marilyn Marks of Coalition for Good Governance; Also: Bad news for Trump in second rape, defamation suit and on his Constitutional eligibility for the 2024 ballot...
By Brad Friedman on 9/6/2023 6:31pm PT  

It's been a few months since she's been on BradCast, but she returns today, for the first time since the sprawling RICO indictment against Donald Trump and 18 co-conspirators for attempting to steal Georgia's 2020 Presidential election. The indictment includes charges based on a phone call she received --- and was smart enough to have recorded --- from a Team Trumper who essentially confessed to the now-notorious breach of the state's voting system software in Coffee County. She deserves, and receives, a bit of a victory lap today, while breaking still more news about the breach which, she warns, has yet to be investigated by the state's Secretary of State or its Board of Elections in advance of 2024. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

But first up today, a few somewhat related items...

A federal judge ruled Wednesday that E. Jean Carroll's upcoming civil trial against Trump will only be on damages --- how much he will have to pay the former magazine columnist who accused him of raping her in the 1990's and then lying about her years later. A civil trial that ended in May found Trump liable for sexual assault and defamatory remarks made about Carroll in 2022. Today, the judge found that the previous finding of assault and defamation already establish Trump's liability regarding defamatory comments he made about her in 2019, while serving as President and, therefore, the only question to be resolved in this separate suit is how much he will have to pay her. She is seeking not less than $10 million in this case and the judge has allowed her to add defamatory comments Trump made about Carroll on a CNN Townhall the day after he was found liable in the earlier case.

Picking up on our detailed coverage on yesterday's show of the various chief election officials around the country now grappling with whether Trump is even eligible for the 2024 ballot next year, based on his violation of the U.S. Constitution's "Insurrection Disqualification Clause" (14th Amendment, Section 3), the nonprofit Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a lawsuit challenging Trump's eligibility for the ballot in Colorado on Wednesday on behalf of six Republican and unaffiliated voters there. The matter is likely to move quickly all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, given that the state must settle its 2024 Primary ballot by January 5th!

A hearing was held on Wednesday in Fulton County, Georgia in Fanni Willis' RICO case [PDF] against Trump with co-defendant attorneys Ken Chesebro (alleged architect of the fake electors plot) and Sidney Powell (alleged organizer of the Coffee County voting system software breach) each seeking to be tried quickly and alone. The judge appears to have agreed on "quickly", setting a trial date for both beginning on October 23. But he he denied their motion to have their cases severed from each other. Still to be determined, however: the question of whether all 19 co-defendants must be tried at the same time, as Willis' team argues, given that guilt for any one defendant in the covert actions listed in the RICO charge (Count 1 of 41) means that all co-conspirators are guilty under state law. Prosecutors told the judge today that they expect the trial to take at least four months and will include more than 150 witnesses. (One of whom might be our guest on today's show!)

At the same time, a filing last week in the case by Powell claims she had nothing at all to do with the scheme to unlawfully breach, copy and distribute Georgia's state voting system software in the rural, Republican-leaning Coffee County. A report last week at the Atlanta Journal Constitution, however, which (literally) has the receipts, suggests otherwise.

But all of that --- including the receipts --- is only known publicly thanks to our guest today, MARILYN MARKS of the small, critical non-profit, Coalition for Good Governance. As first aired on this program in May of last year, Marks received a phone call from an Atlanta bail bondsman named Scott Hall, who, essentially, confessed to the entire Coffee County scheme. That is how we even know that the breach happened at all, and why four people involved with it --- one of whom is Powell, another of whom is Hall --- were charged last month in the scheme that still endangers elections both across the entire state of Georgia, where the same systems will be used again next year, and in more than a dozen other states.

Marks explains today how Hall originally "confessed" to the breach after calling out of the blue to bully her into turning over documents from her long-running civil lawsuit which is challenging the use of GA Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger's unverifiable, wildly insecure touchscreen voting systems. Hall claimed he had actually "hacked" into her group's legal documents.

"Instead of slamming the phone down, which was my first inclination, I instead decided to go into playing the sweet little old lady mode," Marks explains today, noting that she "kept him on the phone for about an hour" before he "just blurted out" the fact that he and other MAGA folks were allowed in to the Coffee County elections building to scan, image and copy everything. Two local officials, Coffee's then Election Supervisor Misty Hampton and the County's GOP chair Cathy Latham, have also been indicted in the same RICO conspiracy. (In addition to helping facilitate the software breach, Latham is also charged for her role as a fake elector in Georgia.)

Marks quipped that Hall has likely by now "realized that he, unlike Trump, had not made a 'perfect phone call."

In the meantime, Marks warns that, despite the indictments, the threat posed by the breach has still not been fully investigated by either federal or state officials. Two and a half years since the breach, which she believes Raffensperger learned of almost immediately afterward and has been covering up, "the Secretary and State Election Board have not even begun an investigation of Coffee County," Marks emphasized, telling me that "there are so many people that were involved in the Coffee County Breach that have not been held to any kind of accountability."

"What they did was just turn the criminal aspects of this over to Georgia Bureau of Investigation," she asserts. "But they are doing nothing at all. They have not even conducted one interview. They have not picked up the first piece of paper. They have not done anything to consider what are the impacts on the voting system? What are the impacts for future elections? How did this go wrong? What kind of better rules should have been in place? What kind of reporting structure should we have had? They have still not put in a single rule or requirement for reporting a security incident. If Coffee happened today, they would not have to report it."

That, Marks warns, remains a serious threat moving forward, especially since the software still remains in the wild and Raffensperger has refused to install Dominion touchscreen voting system security patches certified by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) and strongly recommended by the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) in the wake of the January 7th, 2021 breach in Coffee County until after the 2024 elections.

Marks' long-running lawsuit seeking to replace Raffensperger's Dominion touchscreens with verifiable hand-marked paper ballots is finally set to go on trial in January. "We are really looking forward to putting on all of this evidence," she tells me, after explaining why the Coffee County breach is so key to her case. "And, certainly we are hoping for a decision that will at least protect the November elections for 2024. After all, these breaches that happened in Coffee County --- they are still ongoing."

"Remember, all that software was posted on the Internet. Lots of people took it. Nothing has been done to mitigate it. So, if you think about it, every day that people have their hands on that software, sharing it with others, the breach continues."

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Election officials grapple with Trump's Constitutional ballot disqualification; Also: Proud Boy boss gets 22 years for 1/6; Courts order lawless AL, FL to restore Black-majority U.S. House Districts...
By Brad Friedman on 9/5/2023 6:24pm PT  

We're back! Both on today's BradCast and even in L.A., after fleeing the state last month to avoid weeks of construction on the roof of the apartment housing our home studio. To no one's surprise, the work is taking longer than we were told, so please pardon our efforts this week to work around it as best as possible after taking last week off to both avoid it and to enjoy the last days of Summer 2023 before the 2024 fight for Democracy (represented this year by Democrats) and Autocracy (represented by a lawless Republican party) begins in earnest.

Among our stories today...

  • Enrique Tarrio, former head of the far-right Proud Boys gang was sentenced to 22 year in federal prison on Tuesday following his conviction for Seditious Conspiracy for his role in the January 6th, 2021 U.S. Capitol insurrection. It's the longest sentence for any of the MAGA insurrectionists to date. Also, of note, Tarrio wasn't even in Washington D.C. that day. Point taken: One didn't need to be personally smashing windows and storming the Capitol to be held to serious account for what happened that day. Got it. Hopefully other jurors in other upcoming related cases will get it as well.
  • The federal Courts are still holding. Mostly. For now. On Tuesday, a three-judge panel found that Alabama Republicans blatantly defied an order from the U.S. Supreme Court to add another Black-majority district to their U.S. House map. The SCOTUS order to do so --- after finding the state violated both the U.S. Constitution and Voting Rights Act with their racially gerrymandered districts --- came in Allen v. Milligan [PDF] in early June. Alabama didn't care. In an unprecedented move, they gave the finger to the Court and drew up a new map with the very same deficiencies featuring just one Black-majority district out of seven, in a state where some 27% of residents are Black. The federal court panel has now assigned a Special Master to draw U.S. House districts for the state, after a lawless Gov. Kay Ivey joined with lawless legislators in the gerrymandered statehouse to defy SCOTUS, the Rule of Law and the U.S. Constitution. Alabama is now appealing the ruling to the same U.S. Supreme Court Justices who rejected their arguments barely three months ago.
  • The story is similar in authoritarian Governor and Presidential candidate Ron DeSantis' lawless state of Florida this weekend. In this case, a state court judge on Saturday ordered the state legislature to draw a new U.S. House map restoring a Black-majority district in Northern Florida that DeSantis had personally ordered state lawmakers to break into pieces and divvy up its Black voters into White Republican districts. The weekend's court order would seem to be good news. However, the State will now appeal the ruling directly to its Supreme Court where DeSantis has hand-picked a majority of the Justices. As we have long been warning, the fight between Democracy and Autocracy (or Fascism, as one of our longtime listeners insists), continues into 2024.
  • Next, I finally catch up with a bunch of news on a growing story --- some of which we've been discussing over the past two years --- that I've otherwise been trying to get to for weeks, but for all of the various indictments, hurricanes, wildfires, debates, etc. continually sidetracking me. The news has to do with the continuing feeling I have that Donald Trump will ultimately not be on the ballot come next November. As noted, that's not a prediction or an inside scoop. It's simply a feeling for now, but one that I can't shake as an increasingly swelling body of evidence seems to support its possibility.

    Today, that evidence includes polling last month finding nearly two-thirds of Americans say they will either "definitely" (53%) or "probably" (11%) not support Trump in 2024. Might such numbers begin to grab the notice of Republican Primary voters? (So far, the answer is largely no. But we've got a long way to go --- and a lot of criminal trials --- before the GOP's nominating convention next July.) There are already a number of high profile Republicans calling on Trump to drop out of the race or noting that he very well may be Constitutionally disqualified entirely from the ballot.

    It is that part of this story today --- disqualification from the ballot via Section 3 of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution for his role in the January 6 Insurrection --- that we focus on today. Namely, the far-right, Federalist Society legal scholars who recently issued a 126-page law review paper [PDF] finding Trump to be Constitutionally ineligible for the ballot --- "cannot be president --- cannot run for president, cannot become president, cannot hold office" --- due to his roll in the January 6 insurrection.

    And now, there is a host of state Secretaries of State --- both Republican and Democratic --- around the country who are currently or soon to be grappling with the decision as to whether Trump is even eligible to be on their state ballots in 2024.

    Among those Secretary of State's discussed today, after they recently offered various opinions on the matter: New Hampshire's David Scanlan (R); Ohio's Frank LaRose (R); Arizona's Adrian Fontes (D), New Mexico's Maggie Toulouse Oliver (D); Maine's Shenna Bellows (D) and Michigan's Jocelyn Benson (D). (Benson gets credit for the first part of today's headline. REO Speedwagon gets credit for the alternate hed.)

    I welcome your feelings on this matter as well. Feel free to drop me an email or a note in comments and perhaps I'll share it on air in the days ahead.

  • Finally, Desi Doyen is back as well, of course, with our latest Green News Report, catching up with a bunch of stuff we missed while we were out, and as the Summer of Climate Disasters turns to...well, most likely the Autumn of Climate Disasters...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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